Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not of fan of “year in review’s” (do we really to review of 2016 again) and “best of” lists but thinking how to end the year with a post I find it would be valuable to review some of my journey of 2016 and give myself a clearer path for 2017’s journey.

The year that was 2016

The year of 2016 was a year of transition taking on new challenges in my real estate career but you don’t want to hear about that do you (if you do check my real estate blog http://www.SandySellsRealEsateAZ.com) . Leisure wise my blog and influence has found structure with regular posts on restaurants events and news, wine, beer and more for Phoenix, Arizona and beyond. My burger reviews came to a screeching stop with the Examiner as they shuttered in early July. As you can imagine my burger consumption feels as if it’s slowed and I will make up for that in 2017 I’m sure. 2016 was pretty much a fun year personally and an interesting year to be on planet earth.

2016 was the 1st year in  long while in which I did not set foot on an airplane as the only travel was out-of-state heading to Laguna Beach for a weekend in February to play poker at uncle Bob’s house. In 2017 I will definitely return to the friendly skies for travel with travel planned for Florida and beyond as the year goes on.

Visits to restaurants and meals with friends this year included returning to favorites of the past such as Zuzu, Zinburger, Caffe Boa, RnR among many more and made 1st visits and bites from restaurants such as Drexyl, Char Kitchen + Bar, Ahi Poke, Worth Takeaway along with a long list of others.

Despite the running around I missed out on one of my favorites sandwiches all year…The Il Purista at Defalco’s Italian Deli in Scottsdale. A monthly visit for me, this pile of prosciutto and hand pulled mozz is a reward I will grant myself in the 1st couple of days of 2017. Other foods I’ve denied myself(not many) will find a home in my belly again in 2017.

Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not much of a goal setter or resolution maker at year’s end but I want to experience more experiences in 2017. Simple and frivolous such as learning to like and enjoy Caesar salads or starting a new exercise regimen or months ahead a plan to do and see more via short and long-range travel in this my bounce back year. Listening to classical music is a genre I would like to enjoy more of and have already started as Kalinnikov’s “Symphony #2 In A  Major” is playing as I post these words for you. Soothing and sometimes mellow classical music can be relaxing during life’s hectic pace.

Continuing to break bread and raise a glass with my Friday lunch crew & with fellow bloggers, foodies and friends, new & old,  always remain high on my list.

For Pulling Corks and Forks I hope to resume and grow these words and forge new relationships & partnerships while continuing to share my experiences and provide insight & inspiration so every body can experience more experiences through senses of sight, taste, smell and hearing. Plans continue to grow my social media presence and share what I know will be high on my list.

To follow my 2017 journey of food, wine, friends and other worldly experiences please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter @SandyWasserman Instagram @SandyWass or Like on Facebook www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks

See you in 2017!

 

Grape Arizona Wine Event comes to Heritage Square January 29th

As we are about to close the book on a memorable 2016, we turn the page to start to look at what 2017 will have to offer the sunny and warm Phoenix area in coming months. As the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction, The Waste Management Phoenix Open & the NCAA Final Four bring out of town guests to our desert, we look for more intimate and local inspired events. After our holiday hangover wears off  we look forward to 7th Annual Grape Arizona Wine Event on Sun. January 29th at downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square.

This years event has 16 Arizona wineries paired with bites of food from 10 local restaurants all raising money for the Phoenix Rotary Club Charity Youth Programs. A few of the wineries and restaurants include Dektown Cellars, LDV Vineyards, Pillsbury Wine Co., Leoni’s Foccacia, Urban Table, The Herb Box and Vincent’s.

“This is a great opportunity for wine lovers to taste the best of what Arizona wineries have to offer — all in one place, while supporting a great cause,” says Barbara Katz, the event’s co-chairperson.

Money raised will go to the Rotary’s initiatives that support youth leadership and Interact Service Club and Rotary youth Exchange.

The Grape Arizona Wine Event runs from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm with early bird tickets on sale for $55 & include 20 wine tasting tickets, food samples, a silent auction, raffles with thousands of dollar of prizes and purchase wine related merchandise. Tickets are available at http://www.grapearizonawineevent.com/

 

 

 

Ring in 2017 with dinner on New Year’s Eve around Phoenix

It’s 10 days until we can kiss 2016 good bye and welcome the excitement 2017 will bring us. Those that like to ring in the new year in style can find plenty of places around Phoenix to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Below is a list of several restaurants that are offering dinner on the big night.

The EVO salad photo courtesy of EVO

Pomelo at The Orchard

Chef Javi Perez will be serving dinner from 5pm – 10pm on New Year’s Eve with limited seating for the prie fix menu. The cost is $120 per couple with 2 glasses of Veuve Cliquot champagne included. To make reservations call 602-633-2600.

Starters (one to share)

Calamari & Shrimp Fritti—Crispy calamari and shrimp served with pomodoro and buttermilk dressing.

Chef’s Board—Assortment of cured meats, artisanal cheeses with toasted baguettes.

 Salad (one to share)

Pomelo Chopped—Dinosaur kale, artisan greens, tomato, corn, edamame, roasted peppers, gold raisins, toasted sunflower seed, feta and tossed in Green Goddess dressing. (suggested wine pairing) Lagaria Pinot Grigio | 2014, Veneto, Italy

Wedge—Half head of iceberg lettuce, bleu cheese buttermilk dressing, crispy bacon, hard-boiled egg and tomato confit. (suggested wine pairing) Saint Louis Sancerre | 2014, Loire Valley

Specialties (one per person)

New York Strip *MR—(12 oz.) angus beef grilled over Arizona Mesquite served with shrimp in a parmesan sauce, seasonal vegetables and scalloped potatoes.(suggested wine pairing) Poggio alla Guardia Super Tuscan | 2012, Tuscany, Italy

Short Ribs—Braised to perfection served with a peppercorn demi glaze sauce and served with seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes (suggested wine pairing) Milbrandt Merlot | 2014, Columbia Valley, Washington

Pan-Roasted Wild Salmon *M—Black rice, shaved fennel and wild arugula salad with citrus Pomelo beurre blanc. (suggested wine pairing) Damilano Nebbiolo | 2013, Piedmont, Italy

DESSERT (one to share)

Salted caramel cookie—Warm salted caramel over shortbread cookie served with vanilla gelato, chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. (suggested wine pairing) Veuve Clicquot Rose | NV, Reims, France

Pomelo at The Orchard is part of The Orchard PHX, a two acre venue located at 7100 N 12th St. in Phoenix. http://www.pomelophx.com

Sorso Wine Room

North Scottsdale’s Sorso Wine Room will offer 2 seating’s for their celebration at 6:30 & 8:30. Chef Paige Murphy will prepare a 5 course prie fixe menu with a wine or beer pairing. The cost is $100 per person and includes tax & gratuity. Additional bottles of wine are 1/2 all night. To make a reservation call 480-951-4344. The menu may include the following….

Charcuterie Plate

Corn and Shishito Fritter with Honey Drizzle

Soup Taster

Braised Mustard Greens with Lentils and Crostini

Roasted Pork with Parmesan Risotto

Coffee Glazed Donuts with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Sorso Wine Room 15323 N Scottsdale Rd #150 http://www.sorsowineroom.com

Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho

Zuzu will over 2 seatings at 5:30 for $75 per person and 8:00 for $95 per person for a 3 course dinner. Those who attend either dinner are invited to a complimentary  rooftop Champagne toast at midnight.  Tax, gratuity and alcohol are additional at dinner.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

A few of the options for dinner include a choice of a starterhttps://www.hotelvalleyho.com/hotel/hotel-events/new-years-eve, entrée and dessert from a special menu. Delicious options include Lobster Bisque with crème fraiche and brioche croutons, Herb Roasted Wagyu Beef Striploin with roasted fingerling potatoes, and Huckleberry Crème Brulee.

To see the full menu and to make a reservation visit https://www.hotelvalleyho.com/hotel/hotel-events/new-years-eve

Tavern Americana

New Year’s Eve at Tavern Americana will be served from 5pm- 10 pm with a course dinner for $55 per person ++ with limited seating available. To reserve your seat call 480-502-6740.

1st Course 

Caesar Salad | Parmigiano Reggiano | Lemon | Brioche | Black Pepper

Avocado & Grapefruit Salad | Radish | Champagne Vinaigrette | Arugula | Candied Almonds | Cranberries

2nd Course

Herb Crusted Hanger Steak | Roasted Root Vegetables | Swiss Chard | Green Onion | Port

Roasted Half Chicken | Charred Broccoli | Parsnips | Spinach | Lemon | Burnt Thyme

3rd Course

Chocolate Lava Cake | Champagne Berries |

Grand Marnier Crème Brulee | Caramelized Pineapple

Tavern Americana 20469 N Hayden Rd. Scottsdale http://urbantaverngroup.com/tavernamericana/

EVO

EVO ends 2016 with a 4 course Italian feast starting 4pm going til 2am for $55 per person. The menu below will be the only menu served on New Year’s Eve and those in the bar can order a la carte. To RSVP call 480-265-9814.

STARTERSChoice of One

ARANCINI- CRISPY RISOTTO / PEAS/ MOZZARELLA / POMODORO/ PARMESAN

TUSCAN BEAN STEW- WHITE BEANS / SHERRY / OVEN DRIED TOMATOES / KALE

*POACHED SHRIMP- EGGPLANT RAGU/ THYME OIL

OXTAIL TORTELINI- LEMO/ GOAT CHEESE/ BRAISED REDUCTION

POLPETTINE- HAND ROLLED MEATBALLS/ POMODORO/ GRANAN PADANO/ BALSAMIC/ BASIL

INSALATEChoice of One

EVO SALAD- CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS / DRIED KALE / CHÈVRE/ PEAR/ PANCETTA/ PINENUTS/ BALSAMIC

CAPRESE- TOMOATO/ BASIL PESTO/ PISTACHIO / ARUGULLA / REDUCED BALSAMIC/ CIABATTA

CAESAR- ESCAROLE/ GARLIC DRESSING/ PARMESAN / CROUTONS

WARM KALE- BELUGA LENTILS/ CANDIED PECANS/ PARMESAN / PANCETTA/ VINAIGRETTE/ RED PEPPERS/ GOLDEN RAISINS

ENTRÉEChoice of One

SKILLET LASAGNA- MOZZARELLA/ STRATCCIATELLA / BOLOGNESE/ PARMESAN / BALSAMIC / HERBS

*LOBSTER RISOTTO- POACHED LOBSTER TAIL/ CORN/ ASPARAGUS / WHITE WINE/ PARMESAN

ORECCHETTE- KALE/ FENNEL SAUSAGE/ CALABRIAN CHILI / PARMESAN

PIZZA- ROASTED GARLIC / ROMA TOMATOES / PROSCUITTO / MOZZARELLA/ BASIL/ SABA

GRILLED FILET- TRUFFLE WHIPPED POTATOES/ ROASTED ZUCCHINI/RED PEPPER PESTO

*SQUID INK- TAGLIATELLE/ SHRIMP/ MUSSELS / CALAMARI/ SCALLIONS / SAFFRON BUTTER/ CALABRIAN CHILI

PORCHETTA- PORK TENDERLOIN/ HOUSE PANCETTA / CRISPY FINGERLINGS / HOUSE PANCETTA/ SHALLOT DEMI-GLACE

*SEA BASS- BASIL GASSE/ ROASTED TOMATOES / POACHED SHRIMP/ GARLIC CREMA

DOLCI- Choice of One

NUTELLA CANOLI- MASCARPONE / CARMELIZED PECANS / HOUSE FRUIT PUREE

BROWN BUTTER BABY CAKE- BAKED TO ORDER 20 minutes / VANILLA CRÈME ANGLAISE / CHANTILLY / RASPBERRIES

CITRUS OLIVE OIL CAKE- OATMEAL CRUMBLE/ VANILLA GELATO / CANDIED LIME ZEST

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE- MIXED BERRY CULIS / HOUSEMADE MARSHMALLOW/ RASPBERRY GELATO

CHEESE PLATE- GORGONZOLA/ POACHED PEAR/ BRIE/ DATE JAM/ DRUNKEN GOAT/ BLUE SKY HONEY

EVO  4175 N. Goldwater Blvd. Scottsdale, AZ 85251. 480-265-9814 www.evoscottsdale.com

Joe’s Midnight Run

3 seatings will be available on New Year’s Eve at Joe’s Midnight Run in central Phoenix. 5:00 & 7:30 seatings are $65 per person and the 10:00 seating is $75 per person  and will include party favors and a champagne toast. Reservations can be made by phone at 480-459-4467 or by email at info@joesmidnightrun.com

Opening Course: Choose 1

 Pulpo-grilled fingerling potatoes, paprika oil, garlic and lemon

 Tuna crudo-grapefruit-apple-fennel-chile/sundried tomato oil

 Grilled Romaine Salad-romaine, red bell peppers, lemon buttermilk dressing

 Main Course: Choose 1

 Salmon-truffle celery root-shrimp-cauliflower-crab/lemon buerre blanc

 Duck Mole-squash, corn, braised duck, spiced chocolate mole

 Filet-grilled beef tenderloin, cognac, creamy porcini mushroom and leek ragu, grilled asparagus and potatoes

 Dessert Course:  Choose 1

 Poached Pear-pisco-vanilla-almond/raisin crumble

 Chocolate cheesecake-graham cracker dusting-chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

Bloody Mary’s with a twist on New Year’s Day 2017

Two weeks from today many of us will be waking up with cob webs in our head while waiting for the coffee to kick in after ringing in 2017. New Year’s Day 2017 falls on a Sunday and it’s also National Bloody Mary Day. There’s no way better to cure the hangover while continuing the celebration than with the traditional hangover cocktail. Put your New Year’s resolution to get in shape or drink less on hold for another day or 2 and head to these restaurants that will be offering Bloody Mary’s with twist.

Vintage 95’s Miss Mary

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Locally owned Grimaldi’s Pizzeria recently launched a cocktail menu that has a Bloody Mary made with their secret pizza sauce. The Grimaldi’s Bloody Mary is made with Grimaldi’s famous pizza sauce and is combined with New Amsterdam Vodka, Demitri BM mix and is served ice and topped with a medley of pizza toppings. To find a Grimaldi’s near you visit www.grimaldispizzeria.com.

Vintage 95 The Miss. Mary is Vintage 95 Wine Lounge’s nod to the classic morning drink. Created with house made Bloody Mary mix that includes horseradish, Worcestershire, Sriracha and tomato juice to give the drink a nice spicy kick. Mix in Svedka vodka and garnished with Beeler’s bacon, olives and a lime wedge makes this drink a standout. $5.00  For information visit www.vintage95.com.

Twin Peaks If you like a drink that will put a bit of hair on your chest, Twin Peaks has the Bloody Mary for you. Absolut Peppar Vodka mixes with tomato juice for a spicy concoction that’s garnished with celery, an olive, and of course, bacon. www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com.

Thirsty Lion The Gastropub offers two Bloody Mary’s on their menu. Try the Sriracha Bloody Mary Vodka made with sriracha sauce, tomato juice and Demitri’s spices. If you want something even spicier try the Wasabi Bloody Mary made with wasabi, tomato juice and Demitri’s spices! For Thirsty Lion locations visit www.thirstyliongastropub.com.

 

Hotel Valley Ho has a new executive chef in the kitchen

Scottsdale’s iconic Hotel Valley Ho recently has made a change in its culinary operations and has named Russell LaCasce as executive chef effective January 2nd, 2017. LaCasce comes from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa where he was the executive sous chef where he worked closely with executive chef Beau Macmillan  since 2010.

Zuzu restaurant
Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu restaurant

LaCasce found his passion for food and cooking 20 years ago while working in Charleston, South Carolina before moving to Park City, Utah to learn the service side of the restaurant industry.

After moving to Scottsdale in 2006 he attended the Arizona Culinary Institute and went to work at T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms Resort before heading to the other side of Camelback Mountain to Sanctuary on Camelback. While at T.Cook’s he worked with executive chef Lee Hillson and rose the p.m. sous chef position.

At Hotel Valley Ho LaCasce will oversee all aspects of the hotels culinary operations including the hotel’s restaurant Zuzu, in-room dining, catering and banquets.

“We are delighted to have Russell as our new executive chef. His reputation for delivering creative and flavorful cuisine coupled with his ability to lead his culinary colleagues made him the perfect fit for this key position. We are very much looking forward to seeing how he influences ZuZu and all of our culinary operations,” said Ronen Aviram, the hotel’s general manager.

LaCasce replaces executive chef Charles Wiley who has moved to the soon to open Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley where he will be the executive chef. Wiley will continue to be director of food and beverage for Westroc Hospitality which has developed and manages Hotel Valley Ho, Sanctuary on Camelback and Mountain Shadows.

 

SanTan Brewing Company new 24 oz. cans are out of this world.

“Go big or go home” is what they say and SanTan Brewing Company is going big with 2 of its popular beers in single serve 24 oz. cans. SanTan Brewing started canning its MoonJuice Galactic IPA & MoonJuice Galactic Grapefruit IPA recently in an effort to make the beers available year round across Arizona.

SanTan Brewing new 24 oz. can

Putting beers in larger cans has taken huge planning around SanTan’s brewery in Chandler as founder & brewmaster Anthony Canecchia and plant engineer Fred Marshall have had to re-engineer and reprogram the operating system with new parts. “Tinkering with machines is something we love to do at SanTan.  We are never content with what we are given and are always looking to improve our game. I am extremely proud and excited to be the first Arizona craft brewer to package in a 24 oz can,” said Canecchia.

The Moonjuice Galactic IPA is made with tons of Galaxy and Nelson- Sauvin hops and has the aromas of peach, apricot and tropical fruit. The Grapefruit IPA is made with a splash locally grown grapefruit from Sun Orchard in Tempe.

The 2 IPAs were chosen because of their out of this world success and growth in of them in 12 oz. cans. Pricing for the 24 oz. cans will stay consistent with 6 packs cans selling for $2.99- $3.99 per can and will be available at Circle K, Bev Mo, Total Wine & Spirits and Sprouts Market with select independent retailers and sports venues. To see where you can find the 24 oz. IPAs go to http://www.santanbeerfinder.com/

 

 

 

 

Family & friends will love Buche de Noel from The Crepe Club

The Crepe Club’s Buche de Noel

If you’re planning on visiting with family & friends over the next couple of weeks, there’s no better way to arrive than with a delicious dessert to share. This delicious and simple dessert from The Crepe Club, who with 3 days notice, will make from scratch their Buche de Noel, also known as a Yule Log.

The Buche de Noel is a traditional European dessert cake made from rolled sponge cake and decorated like a log with Christmas symbols that is served around the holidays. It’s been a family tradition of the Tarabichi brothers who own The Crepe Club and wanted to share it with their guests.

The cakes are made in chocolate or vanilla, serve 8-10 people and will be made fresh at their bakery in Tempe. Cost for the cake is $49.95 and will be available for pick up before Christmas Day when you pre-order with 3 days notice. To order a Buche de Noel you can call The Crepe Club at 602-956-0087 and more details can be found at www.TheCrepeClub.com

The Crepe Club is at 2502 E. Camelback Rd #130 Phoenix 85016 (in Biltmore Fashion Park) for pick up.